Head out on a Big 5 Safari to view Manitoba’s amazing wildlife with Frontiers North Adventures
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I feel as though I’m in Mother Nature’s womb. With my kayak and I as centre point, I’m encircled by more than 100 belugas – those endearing “smiling” white whales. All about me they are surfacing, exhaling and inhaling with rhythmical swooshing sounds, then diving into the waters of Hudson Bay. It’s a wildlife ballet.
While I and seven other kayakers watch, some curious belugas swim from the pod (group of whales). Approaching us, they check out our kayaks, diving below and around us. Bending over, I gaze into the smiling face of a beluga. With a shock, I realize I’m less than a metre from it, exchanging glances – and for my part, believing I’ve made a connection with a benign intelligence.
The ballet continues until, some 40 minutes later, the whales are suddenly gone. Joyous shouts carry across the water – and I thank my lucky stars I’m with Frontiers North Adventures, experiencing their Big 5 Safari (moose, black bear, bison, beluga whale and polar bear).
The day before, we saw a polar bear padding along Hudson Bay’s rocky shoreline, while on board Sea North Tours boat en route to Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site. Cutting the engine, the skipper allowed everyone to watch the bear effortlessly dive into the ocean from the shoreline. The bear’s great white head and black nose faced us, glistening against the backdrop of the blue ocean. Polar bears really are as at home in the water as on land.
Such experiences are common with Frontiers North Adventures. The Big 5 Safari actually starts in Riding Mountain National Park, where visitors may see moose, bison and black bears. Although those bears eluded us, we spied one moose plus a large herd of bison, complete with young calves and immense bulls.
Frontiers North offers other adventure experiences, too. Its Tundra Buggy, Northern Lights and Polar Bear Viewing packages, allow visitors to see the shimmering Aurora Borealis as well as the magnificent white bears – and possibly Arctic fox, ptarmigan and other animals – from the comfort and safety of these gigantic, slow-moving vehicles.
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